Kinetic art will move the Kimball
Behind the Kimball Art Center stands a metal man with a streetlamp for a noggin. He’s taller than most things as he, himself, is a nearly 14-foot tall mass of welded metal.
The "Windmill Man" has been on duty since the arts festival. During that time it stood as a Brobdingnagian sentinel for the children at the Kimball Art Center’s "Kid’s Corner."
"Windmill Man" was only a glimpse of what artist Andrew Smith can do. The Kimball is showcasing more than a dozen of Smith’s Kinetic sculptures, ranging from the size of a large lamp to vast mazes of complex metal. His work will be on display starting Aug. 30 through Oct. 29 in the main gallery.
Most of the objects don’t stand motionless like "Windmill Man." Each unique piece is rigged to move. Some have motors running, some have balls traveling a maze, some have water pumping, Nerf balls bouncing, and all of them have movement in some form.
"The word kinetic is defined as moving, or causing motion," Susan Thomas wrote in a press release. "The energy of motion in Smith’s sculptures is formed by various means: by electricity; by natural elements such as light, water, and sound; or physically, by the viewer."
His unique work has earned acclaim by art critics. He’s shown some of his work in a few galleries, but this is his largest, and first solo show. In 2001, Smith won the "Director’s Award" for his intricate rolling ball sculpture, "The Bearing Sea" at the Springville Museum of Art’s Spring Salon. At that point Smith became convinced he could be a full-time artist.
"I never saw myself as an artist, it was never a life-long dream," Smith said. "I always thought I’d go into movies or something. I did a lot of film stuff before."
Smith’s father was also an artist and turned out to be the inspiration behind his work.
"He did assembly, metaphors, and poetic bronze figures," Andrew said. Andrew observed Dennis and after awhile learned to incorporate some sculpture-making techniques from his father and add the kinetic aspect.
Smith recalls playing in his dad’s studio, which was full of "junk." While his dad worked, Smith explored his own creativity.
"When I was growing up, I kept thinking about what would be cool if this or that worked," Andrew said. "Later, I wanted to do a different approach, to incorporate mechanics."
Andrew, who turns 28 in a few weeks, seriously started creating pieces when he was 21. His creativity either comes from an idea he presently has or from tinkering with objects until a piece finally evolves.
For Andrew, literally, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure Andrew’s treasure. His pieces are a conglomeration of items from the junkyard, from scrap metal, antique stores and industrial supply outlets where he finds most of his motors and bearings, he said.
He doesn’t want his work to be classified as the "gift shop stuff" he said.
"I want it to be appreciated as fine art," Andrew said. "I consider it as fine art. I love the playfulness; it’s a little more than welded nuts and bolts."
For Smith, art is about looking at everyday objects and how they function in an unconventional way.
"Art doesn’t have to be serious, art can be fun," Andrew said.
His pieces range from a large home décor piece to gigantic mazelike items. In the past, his work has sold for prices ranging from $1,200 to $30,000.
"The big pieces don’t sell to private collectors," Andrew said. "Sometimes money isn’t the issue, it’s just the size of the piece," Smith said.
Andrew Smith’s kinetic sculpture exhibition can be seen at the Kimball Art Center weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from noon to 5 p.m. The galleries are open to the public and admission is free. For more information, call 649-8882.
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